Note: This essay was originally posted on the former Fitbruary.com blog.
This month has taught me more about myself than I bargained for. On February 1st, I was prepared to eat better, sleep more, workout consistently, read more, and spend more quality time with God than ever. But I wasn’t prepared for the war my flesh would wage against the good habits (both old and new) in my life.
Here’s a hodgepodge of things I learned, and things I’ve known but never quite so acutely as I do now:
1. Set an alarm.
I am fully aware that God doesn’t do wakeup calls. I’m not going to wake up an hour before my son does unless a conveniently annoying sound coming from my phone interrupts my sleep cycle at 6am. If I have to move my quiet time to the evening when my eyelids feel like they’r made of lead, that’s no one’s fault but mine. Set an alarm, and don’t snooze it four times. Or three.
2. Make your bed.
I live by this. Starting your day with a completed task will set the tone for the 16 hours that follow. It literally takes 65 seconds to make my bed in the morning. And it’s also a gift to myself at the end of a long day. No one wants to come home to messy, ugly bed after a messy, ugly day.
4. Embrace the routine.
Get in the habit of doing a one or two things at the same time in the same way every day. A cup of coffee, a prayer break, an ab workout. Total inconsistency tends toward chaos, and chaos is not your friend.
5. Pencil yourself in.
Make appointments with yourself. If it’s not on my calendar, it probably won’t happen. I put meetings with other people on my calendar—don’t I deserve to be on my own calendar?
6. You are not a robot.
Think deeply about your daily activities. Don’t just do things because it’s what you “should do” or it’s what you’ve “always done”. If you’re doing things mindlessly, you’re doing them aimlessly. That robot train is going nowhere fast.
7. Always have a word.
You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to carry a word with you everywhere you go. Whether you’re going to the kitchen , the gym, or a friend’s place for game night. One verse of scripture can get you through it all. Hide it in your heart, speak it to yourself, share it with someone else. It won’t return void!
8. Small choices lead to big changes.
This one is becoming a mantra. Don’t underestimate the significance of the minor decisions you make each day. They add up, and the sum of it all is truly the substance of your life story. What you watch, what you eat, what you wear, what you listen to. It all adds up.
Well, that’s a month’s worth of pithy statements! This has been an incredible month—but all credit to God for His grace and faithfulness! And it will continue, so let’s not let our pursuit of fitness be bound to the month of February. I’m off to begin my March smoothie cleanse.
Onward and upward!